What lies ahead for business aviation?

15 February 2024

Corporate Jet Investor’s London conference has concluded for another year, connecting the industry’s busiest operators, OEMs, lawyers, tax advisors, corporate service providers, brokers, financiers, insurers, appraisers and connectivity providers.

Over two days, industry leaders shared their perspectives on market trends, operational insights and challenges. ZEDRA’s Head of Aviation and Marine, Andrew Wilson summarises his key takeaways:

  • Market developments

Business jet flights in Europe have grown since 2019, in contrast to scheduled flights which haven’t fully recovered post-COVID. Markets in Europe and the US are seeing low rates of aircraft growth, indicating higher utilisation of existing aircraft. Meanwhile, the rest of the world has seen an increase in activity.

Labour supply has become a big challenge in the US, as experienced staff are being replaced with relative inexperience. Beyond the US, this has generally been acknowledged as a global problem following the pandemic.

  • Selling aircraft in 2024

Aircraft sales in the US and Europe are slowing amid the cost of ownership and uncertain economy as interest rate increases prevent true commitment from buyers. In uncertain times new entrants to aircraft ownership usually pause and watch the market waiting for a drop in prices. In Asia, the spotlight for brokers moves from China to India. Australia is seeing an uptick in activity and new entrants to the market. The decrease in preowned aircraft values is generally shifting the market from a sellers to buyers’ market, with sellers encouraged to turn their aircraft into an attractive proposition for buyers.

  • Detecting maintenance problems early

It’s important not to discount the value of Pre-Purchase Inspections (PPIs). Inspecting a preowned aircraft before its purchased are often perceived as redundant when aircraft are on maintenance programmes, however they can play an essential role in detecting problems early especially if the aircraft is between maintenance cycles.

  • The rise of AI and social media

Combine expert advice with the latest technologies. AI is here to stay, as relayed with the help of a bot named Pepper, the chair of the panel discussing the future of AI in the business aviation industry. Ultimately, technology needs to work in tandem with experienced staff and experts to drive efficiencies in areas such as air traffic.

It seems no industry is exempt in the rise of social media, and brokers such as Steve Vasano of The Jet Business are seeing deals originate through platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

  • Beware of cybercrime

Criminals are becoming more sophisticated, and cybersecurity and wire fraud should still be of top concern when it comes to aircraft transactions, with a focus on proper controls and call-back procedures to authenticate bank routing details. When handling a large transaction, it is vital to work with professionals who are vigilant, trustworthy and experienced in such affairs.

  • The journey to 2050 for net zero emissions

Production/Use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) has tripled in recent years and availability is increasing. SAF is chemically identical to fossil fuels, it does not stop the emissions from an aircraft, but it makes the production of fuel renewable. Distribution remains limited however, as transport by trucks contributes to emissions. 64% of the delegates at the Corporate Jet Investor Conference said there is strong demand for Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) but it should be used on a voluntary basis. 61% of delegates said they believed the business aviation industry will meet net zero by 2050.

How ZEDRA can help

The above takeaways reflect the diverse challenges and opportunities within the business aviation sector and how quickly things are moving within the industry.

If you are considering purchasing an aircraft or would like to find out more about how we help high net worth individuals, families and corporates with Aviation and Marine affairs, contact Andrew Wilson.

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